25 October 2017
A Chinese restaurant in Reading facing closure has been granted a stay of execution after the owners appointed a 15-year-old translator to help them defend their business.
But after 90 minutes of listening to damning evidence and the owner's defence, the sub committee adjourned the hearing, because of concerns about the teenage translator.
The 15-year-old was translating for his father Hui Yin, who is the premises licence holder, but at various stages of the meeting he appeared to answer challenging questions about the employment of illegal workers directly.
Addressing the restaurant's legal representative, Councillor Paul Woodward, chair of the committee, said: “We are concerned that your clients are not adequately understanding the proceedings, I think that has become pretty clear.
"We’re not happy about the 15-year-old being put under that degree of pressure either.
“What we will do is ask you, or whoever is going to be their legal representative, to impress upon them the seriousness of the situation. I’m not sure they understand their licence is at risk.”
He said they will “meet again at the earliest possible opportunity” to continue the hearing and asked the owners to appoint an interpreter who is over 18 years old.
Mr Yin, who took charge of the restaurant in 2015, attended the meeting, with a legal representative as well as his 15-year-old son.
Translating for his father, the boy told the committee that the illegal workers had claimed they had the right to live and work in the UK.
He said: "We did check but they don’t know themselves, if they are allowed to and work legally.
“They would like the job desperately. They come to our premises to seek job and better pay.
“They would like to take the job, but not show evidence."
He added: "We have importance, in terms of serving a Chinese community.
"We have a good reputation in terms of our food services and loads of people travel to our restaurant, even for one or two hours.
“We have become quiet famous in this area.
“We hope you can give us this opportunity to improve. We are taking this quite seriously.”